Chinese jade bear sculpture could rise up as high as $20m at Elite Auctions

Elite Decorative Arts have another auction of fine Chinese art and antiques lined up this weekend - and will go into it with confidence running high.

Just a couple of weeks back the company held an auction which posted some extraordinary results. As we reported, a jadeite leaf slide pendant demolished its $5,000 estimate, selling for $50,000, whilst a Ming dynasty porcelain bowl and cup destroyed its $400 listing to bring $26,000.

However, this time the auction house has an item which is expected to sell in an entirely different league.

This is a rare solid nephrite jade bear, the largest known jade sculpture of its time and dating back to China's Warring States in the Eastern Han Dynasty (475-B.C. - A.D. 220).

Chinese Nephrite jade bear
Could you bear to be without it? The Chinese nephrite jade sculpture

The bear is a monumental figure (14 inches tall and 7 1/2 inches wide) and shows extensive calcification due to centuries of burial. It weighs 40 pounds.

The cup-shaped opening on the top of the bear's head suggests it was made for a stand or base for a significant object like a flagpole, table or bell stand.

The bear was made for an important figure or ruler—with whom it was buried. An analytical report concludes the artefact is original, and it comes with a certificate of authenticity from a Beijing relic verification company.

It is expected to achieve is expected to bring $10m-$20m.

"Between the extraordinary demand for Chinese antiques and the fact that the tourist season in Florida is now underway, we're expecting a large, enthusiastic crowd and great sale results," said Scott Ciecckiewicz of Elite Decorative Arts.

"We anticipate 100-150 people will attend the auction live, plus around 500 registered online bidders through"

The sale's expected runner-up top lot is a rare Chinese white jade goblet (listed at $400,000-$600,000), also dating to the Warring States period (400-220 B.C.).

A similar example sold at Christie's in 2006 for $856,000. This 6 3/4-inch piece boasts nice high reliefs of mythical animals, clouds and petal-shaped designs, with a heavy gold leaf overlay covering the copper alloy foil.

Elite's auction takes place on December 10 in Florida and online.

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